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AT&T Trying To Push iPhone To Businesses

Not sure why this is such a surprise. AT&T has started offering the iPhone on their Premier (business) website for $199/$299. I guess this just goes to prove what Electronista extrapolated about RIM being pushed out at AT&T in favor of the iPhone. This is a big deal for RIM since analysts predict that 25-30% of RIM’s phone sales hinge on AT&T.iphoneattpremier

Companies such as HSBC are already looking at the iPhone as a replacement for BlackBerrys. On the other hand I don’t see this actually happening since I cant imagine a company rolling out iTunes to their whole mobile workforce… 🙂 On the other hand the iPhone has some definite appeal with powerful OS that is really starting to shine.

So what do you think. Will your company even consider replacing your Berry with an iPhone?

24 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. No way! The iphone 3g security is a joke!

  2. My whole company already switched to iPhone and we are not even looking back. Blackberry is a wonderful smartphone, but that ugly OS and late updates… OMG.

  3. the iPhone’s Achilles heel is iTunes, for the enterprise. The iPhone won’t replace many Blackberries as long as iTunes and it’s malware-like updater are a requirement.

  4. Consider replacing the BlackBerry? Absolutely not!

    Add the iPhone to the existing portfolio of all the devices we support? Already done so.

    What is really interesting and quite telling is the number of users that have switched back to BlackBerry devices for work and use their iPhones for their personal phone and maybe to read an email here and there.

  5. iTunes is the achilles heaL? No, I think crappy battery life will keep iPhone from making a dent in corporate america. How many folks do YOU know who can afford to use their device for a couple hours, then have to charge it for a couple more before using it again??? At least with Blackberry smartphones you can swap in a fresh charged battery, something El Jobso for some inexplicable reason will never let you do.
    Totally concur on the security being a joke too. iPhone is hacked within HOURS of a new software release.
    I see a LOT of people in my line of work doing as Robb points out, getting an iPhone for their personal phone and their company provides a Blackberry for business use.

  6. Sure, for the current model (and predictably, all future models) the lack of a replaceable battery, short battery life, crappy 3g chipset, and unreliable gps are an issue. Some of these issues can be mitigated on the current model with a gps bluetooth puck, external battery packs or multiple charge points.

    Regardless of the failings of the current model, iTunes will remain on many companies “banned software” list.

  7. you can’t even run background applications and/or have two applications open at once. want to compose an e-mail AND reference something online? yeah, it doesnt work.
    why people keep calling this a “smartphone” when it’s obviously a “featurephone”, i will never understand. it doesnt do what a smartphone by definition does: multitask.
    it’s an awesome multimedia internet device for people who like to use 3+ steps to do something other devices can do in one. it’s barely a phone if you have to dig into it with 3+ taps on the screen to place a call. on the other hand, the browsing experience is second to none.
    but anyone who can label it as “efficient” is a moron. even windows mobile is more efficient as a communications device. bottom line is it has a pretty OS, and that seems to jade the majority from it’s lack of usability. try going to an apple store and talk to a new potential customer. ask them what they love about it, then ask them to dial a phone number. watch them flounder about trying to do something a phone should be able to do intuitively.

  8. mind you, i’m not in love with my blackberry, but it gets things done with the minimum amount of effort required. there was no “learning curve” just to type, much less find stuff on the interface.
    i spent a few months with the first gen iphone and i loved it as a media device. the huge screen was second to none for browsing, especially combined with mobile safari. but not being able to have background apps running was a drag, and after a few months, it felt as capable as your average flipphone once the shine of the pretty OS and sliding screen graphics wore off.

  9. iPhone is a great consumer toy, but really lacks corporate controls, and that is where the problem will lie, until Apple addresses those issues. Not just security, but the fact there are more things there than a corporation will pay for. Most of those items are consumer driven rather than enterprise.

  10. As a person who makes his livelihood in security I think that the iPhone has potential but it will probably not gain much traction with large businesses. The focus of the iPhone is as a status symbol and a gadget. The BlackBerry is more of a business tool. There is obviously quite a bit of room for cross pollination between the consumer focused iPhone and the corporate focused BlackBerry but they really serve two different customers. Just consider things like PGP, S/MIME, two factor authentication and such on the BlackBerry compared to iTunes, appstore, video/mp3 player, and hacks on the iPhone…

    I find that my company would consider giving an iPhone to employees like giving them a toy/gadget on the companies dime… The whole loss of productivity argument would really be interesting.

    On the other hand I see small companies would find this to be a great way to convince their employees to be on call 24/7…

    Don’t get me started on iTunes…

  11. I do contract work with the US Government and iPhones are currently banned at the very large organization I work at. Security and iTunes are just part of the reason. iTunes is banned so many ways it isn’t funny.

  12. I really don’t see much difference between the way Apple is going about their business than Palm tried to do with the Treo– It might be a good fit for smaller companies who don’t want to invest in manpower and dollars to run a BES.

    For larger companies though, I don’t see having such a decentralized system in place where you can’t lock down what your Blackberry users do or don’t do with company devices, gaining any traction, especially with Sarbane-Oxley concerns.


  13. Ill tell you that att hq they aren’t letting employees use the iphone for business email. Only the top execs will get to use the echange. Att is loyal to the blackberry. Trust me those execs are nerds with these phones lol

  14. Matthew
    August 18th, 2008 13:54
    My whole company already switched to iPhone and we are not even looking back. Blackberry is a wonderful smartphone, but that ugly OS and late updates… OMG.
    Dude is a joke. You’re telling me the “looks” of the device factor in why you left the BlackBerry? HAHHAHAHA sorry if you’re e-mail comes in prettier than mine! Has to be the STUPIDEST reason…HAH I guess looks > functionality at your company…

  15. While the cover price may seem attractive, the deal is not.

    First, the data plan is $10-$15 more than comperable MS Push plans (not sure about BlackBerry, but I think that too).

    Second, while AT&T will grant 30 day no questions asked return of ALL other devices, they’re only allowing 14 for iP3G.

    Third, this is a two year, no way out committement. If after 15 days the user decides they can’t handle trying to type emails without a real keyboard, they are stuck with this contract for two years – PERIOD.

    Fourth, absolutely no second device at this price. If the original device is lost or stolen, it’s full list price to replace it.

    Finally, due to the nature of the iPhone and contractual agreements between Apple and YouTube (among others), no limitations can be placed on material posted to the web. That means if someone posts something inappropriate using their corporate iPhone, the corporation has NO RECOURSE to get the item removed. YouTube owns ALL RIGHTS to the material. This is making the corporate lawyers VERY NERVOUS! Imagine someone posting some tidbit of info they discovered about a client of the company they work for, and neither company has any way to get the item removed!

    Oh yea – and IT is not too fond of the fact that there’s a program called “Jailbreak” out there that seems to be able to hack the iPhone within DAYS of new versions of the OS being released.

    What do you think NOW HSBC?

  16. Speaking of lack of security, even the application “kill switch” discovered just what, a week or two ago, can be “killed” itself! How ANY corporation can even THINK to put their corporate life on the line for one of these just baffles me!

    But then again, wouldn’t the video liability apply just as equally to Blackberry? Probably has a lot to do with why business is still primarily into 87xx and 88xx, and will likely have little interest in ANY of the upcoming models (that ALL have cams). Why can’t RIM see the corporate problem cameras introduce, and offer EVERY model with and without camera? RIM is supposed to be so savvy to corporate needs, but on this point I say FAIL!

  17. Cameras, GPS, and mostly everything else on a Blackberry, including the phone and email support, can be disabled by policy. We have a few folks with cameras and they are quite irritated that it doesn’t work. 🙂

  18. I know about policy lockouts, but the generic security guard etc. has no way to know that. He looks at a Pearl or Curve (or Bold or Javelin or Kickstart or Thunder or Niagra or Seawolf or ….) and sees a camera. He/She doesn’t care if it’s disabled by policy, it’s there, so leave your phone behind at the security desk/counter/gate. Sure, the policy ability helps with corporate liability matters, but how many times you think people will want to leave behind their pretty iPhone?

  19. I wonder what RIM is planning for all the professions that cannot live with cameras on their phones. For example, in New York I don’t think you can go to a court house with a camera phone. Then there is the Feds who hate camera phones… These places don’t care if it is disabled. None of the upcoming devices have even hinted at having a camera-less option.

  20. Our “corporate” devices are marked. One glance tells all, plus the requisite equipment carry card. We have communicated our dissatisfaction with the seemingly camera only options to RIM and have yet to get a reply. Just to clarify, we are the Feds and we care, and we disable, and hope that RIM sees that one of their largest customers doesn’t look with glee at their future devices. We have experimented with disabling the camera lens with some “innovative” permanent lens covers as well. 🙂

  21. Has anybody experimented using opaque glue to cover the camera opening?

  22. “Has anybody experimented using opaque glue to cover the camera opening?”
    I’m not sure how you’d ever get such a thing past the physical security folks. How do you PROVE it’s opaque to Joe Security Guard? How do you CONVINCE him/her that you can’t remove it once past security? Do you think there are many security guards willing to risk their job on letting some cameras through? If you were a guard, wouldn’t you take the “path of least resistance” and deny entry to anyone that had anything even remotely resembling a camera?

    Heck, a lot of places I go, you have to get a pass prior to entry for ANY electronic gadget you have in your posession, and all are subject to inspection at any time. Don’t even THINK about getting caught with a USB stick or media card in your pocket.

  23. Any enterprising soul willing to manufacture an interchangeable battery cover that doesnt have the camera cutouts? Just think of the millions you could make on a government contract alone for all those camera-enabled Blackberries. You heard it here first! I’ll settle for mere royalties.


  24. That is actually a pretty smart idea… I doubt it would fly off the shelves since security guards are really thorough about cellphones recently…

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